Yesterday was Dr. X day. I was not all that enthusiastic about going and really wanted to stay home under the blankets. It started snowing like crazy and I just wasn't feeling great. The King drove me as he had a few things to do and figured he'd get them done while I was getting my treatment. Things started off as usual and he said he would teach me to do somethings to help with my stagnant "cold" (TCM divides things into "cold", "heat", "wind", "damp", etc) which is what is causing me to not feel so great. He checked my pulse points and tongue, remarked at my weight loss and how I look younger. We proceeded to the room where he does acupuncture where he put more needles in my hands than usual and 2 in my face, which he had never done before and I have to admit it freaked me out a little. I was feeling pretty relaxed and he left the room. Shortly he returned with a Barbie sized chimenia and some white string. He said he was going to teach me something for my "cold". Next thing I know the chimenia is strapped to my belly with the white cord which was elastic, it was tight and not comfortable at all. Then he wets a piece of the tissue I'm laying on and puts it under the chimenia pot. He proceeds to light a cigar like thing which instantly smelled disgusting. He explains to me that it is perfectly safe and if it feels hot I can move it up and it will relieve the heat feeling, that I'm to use this for 20 minutes. He puts it in the chimney of the chiminea and leaves the room.
After I don't know how much time I start to feel the heat, it's not just hot but feels like it is burning. I raise the cigar up and wait, no relief, raise it more and still no relief. I started to freak out as it felt like my stomach was burning. I thought to myself that I can't take it right out of the chimney because I'm laying on tissue paper and I'll be on fire if an ash hits it. I call for the doctor and all I can hear is the buzzing of the machines at the drycleaners next door. Tears start pouring out of my eyes like you turned a tap on, my breathing is erratic, I push the heat lamp away from me (all the while it is difficult to even use my hands as I have so many needles in them and in my elbow joint, there is some shooting pain with my frantic actions. I holler again for the doctor and finally the receptionist comes in. I tell her that I'm burning and I need this thing off me. He comes in while still on the cell phone, sees the river of tears and she tells him that I want it off. I say it's burning, he shows me how to raise it and I freak and tell him to get it off. He says "ok, ok... you ok. Relax, why you so sensitive?" He takes it off and leaves!!!!! I'm in full blown panic attack by now and so thankful that sweet M, the receptionist comes back and helps to calm me down. I want these needles out and I want to go home. I was in full blown caged animal terror and panic attack like I never remember ever experiencing. She assures me that while there is a red mark it doesn't look too bad. M talks me through some deep breathing and gets me calmer. She then gets him to come and take the needles out and tries to explain to him that I've had a panic attack (he is off the phone now). He removes the needles, does some massaging of my forehead and pulls my ears, asks if I ok and tells me again "you ok". He tells me to relax and lay still, leaves the room again. M asks if I'm ok and goes as well.
I get up and phone the King, all I said was "you need to pick me up now", it's only been an hour since he dropped me off. He asks no questions and comes. (He was in the next city so it took a little bit). M talks to me again, is so sweet and understanding. Dr. X comes back and explains to me that I was not burning and how I need this treatment to get rid of the cold. He says next time... I look at him like he is insane. M says that if I decide to try it again that she will sit with me through it. She is so apologetic about everything, I was not given the bell (never have been before and didn't even know it was an option) and says she is so sorry she did not check on me earlier. Dr. X says I need to trust him and work with him or he can't help me. I feel like I'm out of my body. M is my advocate and talks to him about how the experience and how I've been feeling. She asks him if he notices an improvement in me, even though I feel like I've gone backwards. He tries to explain like he has to me before and then he goes and comes back with a paper. He says his english is not so good and if I read this maybe I understand better. It is obviously translated from chinese and the english is a bit off but it makes sense. I feel better about continuing the treatment but I'm not so sure about the smoking cigar. I get my herbs and my King arrives to rescue me.
We have to go back to the city as he did not get everything done. I'm totally exhausted and lay back in my seat dozing while he does his thing. We have to hit Costco to buy food for the breakfast program at the school, I'm embarrassed that I'm in yoga pants (I never wear that kind of thing anywhere but to my therapy appointments (acupuncture and massage) because I go straight home) but the King says not to worry about it as I still look better than most people who are dressed in real clothes. (love that guy). By the time we get home I'm so exhausted I can barely think straight. I have barely an hour before the crew gets home from school and I'm out of it on the couch. I was just done for the rest of the night and my sweet King even made dinner. I had some trouble getting to sleep and ended up taking a pill. I have some self-acupuncture pads in my ear and when I layed a certain way while I was tossing and turning I'd feel the effects of 6 little pricks poking into my ear at once. He claims I will be able to keep them 1-2 weeks but I can't see that happening. I will have to cover my ear when I shower and I do that daily so I don't know how long they will last.
I did some research on this "cold" stagnant thing and it lines up with the things I've been feeling. Typical treatment is moxibustion which seems to be similar to what he was trying to do. I don't know why I had such a strong emotional reaction to it. I have not been prone to anxiety or panic attacks. It was a terrifying experience and not one that I want to repeat any time soon.